Are the Thousand Years in Revelation 20 Literal?

The question regarding the last years of earth’s history is, in a sense, very similar to that regarding earth’s first days: what do numbers and units of time in the Bible actually mean?  Are they merely figurative or are they to be taken literally? The interpretation of the days in Genesis 1 and the meaning of the thousand years in Revelation 20 are related due to the use of numbers and measurements of time in the Bible.

In Revelation 20 verses 2-7, six times we are told that Satan will be bound and that Christ will reign for a thousand years.  Understanding this to be a literal period of one thousand years or an allegory of an indefinite period of time has been an issue that has, generally speaking, created two camps of believers.  When we look at the ancient interpretations of both the creation account and Revelation 20, we will see that before the time of Augustine (354 to 430 A.D) both were interpreted literally.  Those holding to a literal interpretation are historically called millenialists (although today they are called premillenialists) and believe that the Great Tribulation will occur before Jesus returns to set up His kingdom for a literal period of a thousand years in which He will reign physically from Jerusalem.  Justin Martyr, a church father from the early second century A.D. declared emphatically in his Dialogue with Trypho,

But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.  (The FathersDialogue with Trypho Chapter 80)

Clearly, Justin Martyr took the literal interpretation rather than a figurative or typological approach as Augustine, who is the father of the amillenial position, would later do. [i] The amillenialists purport that the thousand years in Revelation should be taken figuratively and that, in fact, there will not be an actual, literal, physical reign of Christ nor a binding of Satan for a literal, thousand years.  Again, we are faced with the question of whose view is right.  Is it really a matter of theological preference as to which view one holds?  Or is there some key to unlock this enigma?  Rather than looking to the Church Fathers for validation, let’s first look at the passage and allow Scripture to interpret itself.  I believe that we will find that, as with Genesis 1, only one of the two approaches is acceptable.

There are in essence two words that we need to study in order to determine the duration of time in Revelation 20.  We will first of all look at years to appreciate how the word is used in the Bible.  Once we have recognized what is the normal meaning, we will explore what writers meant when stating one thousand.  Does the number have just a simple meaning of thousand?  Or if as the amillenialists state, should it be understood as an indefinite period of time similar to the days of creation as purported by evolution supporters?

Years in the Bible

The word year (ete ἔτη) appears a total of 29 times in the New Testament.  In every occurrence the meaning of year (or years) is simply that of a real, literal period of a year whenever a number precedes it.  For example, we read in Mark 5:25, “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years.”  The text treats this as a real number of real years — and why shouldn’t it?  What else could years mean?  In Luke, we read of the prophetess Anna, “and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years…” (Luke 2:37).  In John 2:20, the Jewish leaders reply to Jesus’ claim, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”  Furthermore, in Acts 13:20 we read, “After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.”  In all of the examples, the word years (ete ἔτη) is referring to a real (specific) amount of time and is used in its literal sense.  The 450 years of the time of the judges is considered to be a real amount of time.  The fact is that year, when preceded by a cardinal number, is never used in any other way.  Years always refers to what we understand to be a year – that is, the completion of twelve months (with the exception of an occasional 13th month added every several years to balance out the Jewish calendar), once around the sun.  Similarly to day in the Old Testament, which when preceded by a cardinal number means only a real day, so too when the words years and years are preceded by a cardinal number, they always and only signify a definite period of time.

The Number Thousand

Since year (and years) has only a literal and absolute meaning when preceded by a cardinal number, our next undertaking is to try to correctly understand “thousand.”  Is there something in the word which would lead us to conclude that thousand could mean something other than its literal and plain meaning?

Thousand (chilia χίλια) occurs in the New Testament eleven times, six of those being in the twentieth chapter of Revelation.  Twice it occurs in 2 Peter 3:8, “…that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”  The other three occurrences are in the book of Revelation as well.  The number of verses with which we can compare the word thousand in the New Testament in order to correctly determine the meaning is somewhat limited since six of the eleven examples occur in Revelation 20.  Thus, we need to turn to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament translated from the Hebrew in approximately 270 B.C.

The word thousand appears 504 times in the Septuagint where it is translated from the Hebrew word אלף elef, which simply means thousand.  It never refers to any kind of imaginary number, nor does it signify an indefinite quantity.  The Septuagint merely translates that word literally and carries the same meaning.  There are cases where a text will say thousands in the plural and of course, that by definition is indefinite.  But whenever a text refers to one thousand it is speaking in a literal sense.

So, you might ask, why doesn’t the word one appear before the word thousand?  Quite simply, Greek does not require the word “one” to appear before thousand for it to be understood that it means one thousand.  Many languages are parallel to Greek in this respect.  For example, in Hebrew, there is no need to say one before thousand.  In fact, it is impossible to say that and to do so would sound very foreign; so too in Greek.  When it is only one thousand, then no other word is necessary to qualify the number.  Only when it is two thousand plus does a number come in front of it.

The Definite Article

The phrase thousand years appears six times in the passage of Revelation 20:2-7.

He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.  Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison.  (emphasis mine)

Three times in the passage the author, John, states “…bound him [Satan] for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:2); “…And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4); and “…and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).  In all three of these passages, the literal rendering of the text is that Satan is bound and the saints reign one thousand years (one is included in the word thousand in Greek).  The other three occurrences “…till the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:3); “again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:5); and “…when the thousand years have expired…” (Revelation 20:7) all refer to a specific time indicated by the use of the definite article the.  The word the is a limiter or a definer.  It tells us that something specific is indicated.  Therefore, the time frame is not something undefined but in fact it is very defined.  “The thousand years…” reinforces the fact that a literal amount of time is indicated since it points back to “a thousand years” already mentioned in verse 2.

Summary of Years

In conclusion, we have seen that years and numbers (just like days) in both the Old and New Testaments are taken as literal.  Years always refers to a literal amount of time.  Year, when used with a number, is never used to refer to anything more than once around the sun.  When the writer wished to indicate a longer period, then the exact number of years was mentioned.  We also saw that the number thousand is treated just like the other numbers in both Testaments.  The references to years in the New Testament are numerous and all of them are treated as real years, including the one of 450 years.  Furthermore, the Greek word chilia χίλια, meaning “one thousand,” is used hundreds of times in the Greek Septuagint and every time has a simple meaning of a literal number, that is one thousand!  And finally, we noted that the grammar in Revelation, by the use of the definite article, limits the use of what one thousand can mean.  It is not an indefinite period of time, but rather is very definite.

Thus we are left with the conclusion that the thousand years of Revelation should be understood to mean precisely that – one thousand, literal years.  Having used Scripture to interpret Scripture, we see that any other interpretation is both inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible and grammatically unsound.


[i] Augustine formulated this eschatology primarily in response to the Donatists’s drunken feasts in their “cult of the dead” ceremonies honoring the martyred brothers.  Augustine also reacted to the millenialists’ anticipation as the year 500 approached since they thought that to be the culmination of the 6000 years since creation. (Anderson 2002: 4)

The Day God Created Dinosaurs

According to evolutionary time scales, the dinosaurs lived hundreds of millions of years ago and died out about 65 million years ago.  Holding to a literal interpretation of Genesis and accepting the record of the dinosaurs, however, would seem to be diametrically opposed. Therefore what are we to do with the dinosaurs if we also hold to a literal, six-day creation only several thousand years ago?

 

Dinosaurs Were Real

Some believers in the inerrancy of the Bible have simply dismissed the dinosaurs as having never existed almost as a knee-jerk-reaction to the controversy concerning the supposed missing links of human ancestry.[i]  The collection of dinosaur bones, however, is a completely different question from that of man’s supposed early ancestors, and hence their existence should not be in question.

 

The number of dinosaur bones that has been discovered is staggering.  They have been found all over the world in large quantities, and sometimes entire skeletons have been found intact.  There should be no doubt among young earth creationists that dinosaurs were real creatures that existed in great quantities in the past.  The big question at hand is: when did they exist?  The Bible-believing adherents of an old earth see the reality of dinosaurs as one more reason that evolutionary timescales must be true and must have taken place over millions of years.  Indeed, we have been told so many times that dinosaurs died out around 65 millions years ago, that men and dinosaurs never coexisted, and that holding to a literal creation of six, 24-hour days of creation a few thousand years ago would seem to pose some problems.  It is only a problem, however, until we realize that the Bible actually speaks of dinosaurs being created during the first six days and coexisting with men.

 

Where Are the Dinosaurs in the Bible?

So just where in the Bible are dinosaurs mentioned?  The word dinosaur, per se, is never mentioned in the Bible.  The word was not coined until 1841, twenty years after a British doctor, Dr. Mantell, discovered some teeth and bones in a quarry.  They were so different from the bones and teeth of known lizards that they were eventually given a new name by another British scientist, Dr. Owen, who called them dinosaurs, meaning terrible lizards.  Given that the name itself was not coined until the 1800’s, we would not expect to find it in the Bible as such.  But that does not mean that the Bible doesn’t mention them by another name.

 

There are, in fact, dozens of verses that speak of dinosaurs sometimes as actual living physical creatures and sometimes as either physical or symbolic creatures.[ii]  We will look at the three main words in Hebrew, תנינם tanninim, בהמות behemoth, and לויתן Leviathan, which designate dinosaurs of various types.  Though there are other words such as Rahab and nahash, which some people suggest refer to dinosaurs, their designation as dinosaurs is speculative.  Therefore, we will focus on the large number of strong examples that we already have to work with.

Tanninim

The first word, tanninim, is found in Genesis 1:21, the fifth day of creation: “So God created great sea creatures [תנינם tanninim] and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”  The word tanninim appears 27 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, 21 of which have been translated as dragon (or dragons) in the King James Version (KJV), three times as serpent (and serpents), once as monster, and twice as whale (and whales).[iii]  Thus, we don’t actually see the word dinosaur written in the text of an English Bible, but it is lying below the surface in the original language.  Just how are we to understand this word though?  Is this word referring to great whales as the KJV translates it here or as great sea creatures or great sea monsters as we see in other versions?  Is it simply understood in a generic sense of a big creature or more specifically as a dinosaur-dragon-type creature?

 

The Origin of the Word

The origin of the word is not absolutely certain.  The most accepted Hebrew lexicon, Brown Driver Briggs, suggests the following meanings: 1) dragon, serpent, sea monster 1a) dragon or dinosaur 1b) sea or river monster 1c) serpent, venomous snake, though it suggests that tanninim may be related to a more primitive root of tan meaning to howl, and hence, by implication, jackal.  This latter suggestion is questioned by many scholars due to linguistic considerations.  The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible states regarding the origin of this word:

 

AARTUN has revived the proposal […] that Tannin is derived from a geminate root TNN, “to smoke, ascension of smoke”, leading to the Ugaritic “the dragon, (sea) monster, snake (stretching out/moving forward like smoke).” (Van Der Toorn et al 1999: 834)

 

Three Root Letters

Semitic languages are fascinating in that (almost) every word consists of three root letters that serve as the foundation of the word.  By adding prefixes, suffixes, and changing the vowels, the application (and implication) of the word changes, but the essential meaning remains the same.  This idea can be seen in English, although it is still slightly different, in some words like save, savior, and salvation.  These three words are all related with the common meaning of save, though they obviously have different roles.

 

In Hebrew and all Semitic languages, there are three principal letters which give a word its essential meaning.  tanninim consists of the three-root letters tav, nun, nun or TNN.  Just as there are Spanish, French, and Italian words that are practically the same (such as gato, chat, and gatto, respectively meaning cat), the same is true of Semitic languages where a word in one language can be almost identical to that in another language.  Thus, to find that the root TNN appears with a similar meaning in an ancient language called Ugaritic, which was spoken around approximately 1400 B.C. in what is today Lebanon, greatly helps us narrow down the search for the meaning.

 

According to R. E. Whitaker, A Concordance of the Ugaritic Literature, the word appears eight times (Whitaker 1972: 619).  Six of those are couched in mythological texts, and three of those are concerning tunnanu, the great sea monsters.  J.C.L. Gibson translates a particular text as “In the sea are Arsh and the dragon” (Gibson 1977: 81).  The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible notes that the ideogram, which is a type of written picture, for tunnanu, is that of a snake (Van Der Toorn et al 1999: 835).  Thus comparing the Hebrew word tanninim with the Ugaritic, we find that the word was indeed related to a creature, though associated with the Ugaritic gods, that was, nonetheless, a type of aquatic dragon which may have also breathed fire.

 

Dragons in the Septuagint

We should also consider the testimony of the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures done in approximately 270 B.C. by Alexandrian Jews.  Therein we can gain an insight into an ancient understanding of the word.  The Septuagint translates the word in Genesis 1:21 as κητη (kete) which means monster.  However, the majority of the occurrences of the word tanninim are translated as δρaκων (drakon), which is the origin of the English word dragon.  There are many references to dragons in Greek literature.  They were snake-like monsters (though often with feet) that were guardians of important places; they were not merely whales.  Hence, the Greek translation of the word points in the direction that this class of creatures that God created on the fifth day was indeed a dragon or, in modern language, a type of  sea “dinosaur”[iv].

Behemoth

The next word is behemoth found in Job 40:15.  Behemoth is the plural of the feminine noun behema, which simply means beast.  It is curious to note here that behemoth, though plural, takes a singular and masculine verb (in Hebrew the number and gender of nouns and verbs must agree) thereby signifying not beasts, but a specific type of creature.  Thus, the word behemoth here is not just a plural form, but a completely different creature or beast.

 

God’s Description of Behemoth

In this passage, God comes, per Job’s request, to testify that He is altogether above man’s understanding and challenges Job to consider His creations, “Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you…” (Job 40:15)  Notice how God declares that He made the behemoth along with Job.  But even more importantly is the command “look now” – a clear statement that this creature was created at the same time and apparently lived contemporarily with Job, or he would not have had a clue what God was talking about and certainly would not have been able to “look” at what God was talking about.[v]  God then lists many of the attributes of this creature that we will look at to get the best picture possible of what kind of animal this truly was.

 

Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you;

He eats grass like an ox.

See now, his strength is in his hips,

And his power is in his stomach muscles.

He moves his tail like a cedar;

The sinews of his thighs are tightly knit.

His bones are like beams of bronze,

His ribs like bars of iron.

He is the first of the ways of God;

Only He who made him can bring near His sword.

Surely the mountains yield food for him,

And all the beasts of the field play there.

He lies under the lotus trees,

In a covert of reeds and marsh.

The lotus trees cover him with their shade;

The willows by the brook surround him.

Indeed the river may rage,

Yet he is not disturbed;

He is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth,

Though he takes it in his eyes,

Or one pierces his nose with a snare. (Job 40:15-24, emphasis mine)

 

God says that “He eats grass like an ox.”  To say that the creature is like an ox in the food it eats means that it is not an ox, but rather it is only similar in the way that they both eat grass.  There have been three main explanations as to what known animal this could be: elephant, crocodile, or hippopotamus.  Both elephants and hippos are known to eat grass, while crocodiles, on the other hand, eat only meat (frogs, insects, or larger animals), but never grass.  We can safely conclude that this creature is not a crocodile just from its diet.

 

Elephant or Hippo?

Could it be either an elephant or a hippo?  Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic theologian of the 13th century, suggested that behemoth is in fact an elephant (Jackson 2005).  This animal could possibly be an elephant in that they both eat grass, but what about the other characteristics?  Do they really fit those of an elephant?  “See now, his strength is in his hips, And his power is in his stomach muscles” (Job 40:16).  The strength of an elephant is in its trunk, shoulders, and head.  Its hips and stomach, though not weak compared to ours, are certainly not its outstanding characteristics.  God then continues describing the animal, “He moves his tail like a cedar…” (Job 40:17).

 

Just how big is a cedar tree?  According to one source, a Lebanon cedar tree (assuming that is what Job would have

Cedar of Lebanon

understood) typically grows to around 81 feet tall and 112 inches (9.33 ft) in diameter.  The tail of an adult male elephant measures between seven to ten inches at the widest part! [vi]  And just what would it be like to wag a tail that is like a cedar?  Obviously, anything that got in its path would experience serious devastation.  Getting in the path of an elephant’s tail might not smell great, but it probably would not do much harm.  What can be said about the tail of an elephant is equally true of a hippopotamus – the tail is little more than a fly swatter!

 

It’s a Tail and Nothing Else

Some have tried to suggest that the Hebrew word זנב (zanav tail) should in fact be translated as the male genital instead.  This theory is nothing more than an attempt to draw attention away from the true issue that in this text the tail of this creature does not fit that of any normal everyday kind of creature.  Zanav is used eleven times in the Hebrew Bible including this passage in Job.  Every occurrence outside of Job refers to a tail whether it be an animal’s literal tail or a figurative usage of what comes after and not before.  Several of those times[vii] the word is further defined by the contrast with the head, leaving little doubt that a tail, and not a sexual organ, is being referred to.

 

The Bones

Next God states what his bones are like.  To take this passage literally means that we understand that the text suggests that the bones are like bronze and iron, although they are not made of those actual materials.  Care must be given not to overlook those small but important words that allow us to interpret literally.  Nevertheless, the picture is given that the bones of this creature were of immense strength implying that the creature itself was extremely big to need such strong bones.  Although one could argue that elephants and hippos possess such strong bones, it would fit well in describing the strength of dinosaur bones, too.  In fact, considering that “the weight of Brachiosaurus, the largest plant-eating dinosaur, is 50 metric tons” according to the Indian Institute of Astrophysics website, which is 49.2 English tons, its bones would have to be extremely strong.  An adult, male, African elephant, the largest of all elephants, weighs in at 6.8 tons.  While we should certainly not want it to step on our feet, it is much, much lighter than the heaviest of dinosaurs.  The Brachiosaurus is seven times heavier than the elephant.  The implications of such enormous size are summarized as follows:

 

Galileo was the first to address the problem of support faced by land animals in the early 1600s. He theorized about the relation of size to strength and structure. Consider two animals of different sizes that are geometrically similar. If the larger is twice as long as the smaller animal, it is also twice as wide and twice as high. The larger creature outweighs its smaller counterpart eight times. Although the volume is eight times larger, the strength of its legs increases only by a factor of four. Thus, eight times the weight would have to be carried by only four times the bone strength. If an animal becomes progressively bigger without changing its shape, it must eventually reach a size at which it is incapable of supporting itself.  (Indian Institute of Astrophysics 2006)

 

While the above explanation does not consider the elephant and the Brachiosaurus specifically, the principle holds true that the bones of the dinosaur would have needed to be extremely strong to support such an enormous creature.  Thus, the Bible’s description of the bones being like bronze and iron is in no way an exaggeration if the animal were indeed a large dinosaur such as the Brachiosaurus.  In fact, it would seem that no other creature except such a giant would merit the description of having bones like bronze and iron.

Leviathan

After questioning Job about his knowledge of Behemoth, God then continues to challenge him regarding another creature, whose description has caused many to dismiss it as purely myth.  The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible states, “Obviously the author of Job 41 had access to some animal mythological literature relating to the Egyptian tradition” (Van Der Toorn et al 1999: 513).  The author matter-of-factly states that the biblical writer, whom I believe to be Job, borrowed the tradition from another culture.  The author of the dictionary has effectively declared that it was not God who spoke those words to Job, but rather some unknown author who was inspired by another culture.

 

A Dragon/Snake-Like Creature

A root similar to Leviathan is found in an Ugaritic text[viii]litanu whose etymology is thought to be either “the twisting one (cf. Arabic lawiya) or the wreath-like, the circular (cf. Heb liwya), both possibilities pointing to an original concept of Leviathan as a snake-like being” (Van Der Toorn et al 1999: 511).  Other than this connection, no other supporting evidence is given to substantiate the claim that Job, or whoever is believed to have written the biblical book of Job, borrowed the idea from others rather than being told divinely from God Himself.  Most Ugaritic texts are from the 15th century B.C., although many believe that the book of Job is much older than that.  Granted, the date of Job is controversial and not altogether certain.  However, if the early date of Job is accepted, then it is at least possible that the account in Job is the original, while the Ugaritic account is merely a distortion of it.  Although we may not be able to prove conclusively which account is older, we can look at the Bible’s own description of this amazing creature.

 

God’s Description of Leviathan

We are told in Isaiah 27:1 that at that point God will “punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; and He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.”  Due to the end times nature of this passage, it cannot be ruled out that this may be metaphorical language referring to Satan who is called the dragon of old in Revelation 12:9.  On the other hand, we are told specifically that the creature lives in the sea and is some type of twisting serpent-like creature as we saw in the Ugaritic text.

 

Psalms 104:26, 27 provides an important naturalistic description of Leviathan indicating that it was a real, historical creature as far as the Bible is concerned.  “There the ships sail about; There is that Leviathan which You have made to play there.  These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season.”  The fact that Leviathan lives where the ships sail and is listed with the innumerable teeming things which live in the sea (Psalms 104:25) strongly demonstrates that, whatever it was, it was one of the many creatures that God made.  The detailed description of Leviathan is given in Job 41 where God challenges Job if he is able to contend with Leviathan, with the implication that God alone is able.

 

Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook,

Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?

Can you put a reed through his nose,

Or pierce his jaw with a hook?

Will he make many supplications to you?

Will he speak softly to you?

Will he make a covenant with you?

Will you take him as a servant forever?

Will you play with him as with a bird,

Or will you leash him for your maidens?

Will your companions make a banquet of him?

Will they apportion him among the merchants?  (Job 41:1-6)

 

Not an Ordinary Creature!

God is stating in unambiguous terms that this creature is no ordinary creature.  He is not some animal that one can tame like the other animals and is not one that is taken as food for a banquet (verse 6).  God then goes on to describe how this creature is practically invincible because no spear can pierce him and his entire body is covered with a type of armor impenetrable to man’s weapons.

 

Can you fill his skin with harpoons,

Or his head with fishing spears?

Lay your hand on him;

Remember the battle–  never do it again!

Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false;

Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him?

No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up.

(Job 41:7-10)

 

Invincible

The description that God gives of this creature is remarkable.  There is no known animal on the entire earth that was so fierce that man could not conquer it.  God declares that because no one would dare stir Leviathan up that there was no one who was able to stand against God.  No elephant, hippopotamus, crocodile, or any other creature is invincible to man.  Although many men may die fighting, given enough spears and men, every creature would eventually fall at the hands of men — with the exception of one.  This creature can be conquered by God alone.  God continues describing Leviathan.

 

“I will not conceal his limbs,

His mighty power, or his graceful proportions.

Who can remove his outer coat?

Who can approach him with a double bridle?

Who can open the doors of his face,

With his terrible teeth all around?

His rows of scales are his pride,

Shut up tightly as with a seal;

One is so near another

That no air can come between them;

They are joined one to another,

They stick together and cannot be parted. (Job 41:12-17)

 

 

Some remarkable traits of Leviathan are his terrible teeth, true of the crocodile but certainly not of the elephant or hippopotamus.  The teeth is where the similarity to the crocodile ends, however, for Leviathan has an outer coat which none can remove and has rows of scales which no air can come between nor can they be parted.  It is true that crocodiles have a hard and scaly backside, but their belly is soft and vulnerable.  In verse 30 we are told that his undersides are sharp and that he leaves marks in the mire – characteristics hardly true of the crocodile.

 

Fire Breathing

What is truly shocking about Leviathan is that God states that he breathed fire.

 

His sneezings flash forth light,

And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.

Out of his mouth go burning lights;

Sparks of fire shoot out.

Smoke goes out of his nostrils,

As from a boiling pot and burning rushes.

His breath kindles coals,

And a flame goes out of his mouth. (Job 41:18-21)

 

I admit that when I first contemplated the thought of a fire-breathing dragon as actually being real, I was skeptical.  But then I began to consider it and eventually came to the conclusion: why not?  After all, Fireflies (One of God’s Amazing Creatures) are tiny creatures that produce something inside of them that produces light as do numerous bioluminescent marine animals including the electric eel.  Certainly an amazing creature is the bombardier beetle, which, when being attacked by a predator, can release chemicals in its rear to provide about 70 quick explosions which are fatal to other insects.  Thus, if a little beetle is able to  create an explosion from its tiny body, who is to say that dinosaurs might not also have been able to breathe fire?  Perhaps the legends of fire-breathing dragons from all over the world actually hold some validity.

 

A Shining Wake

God then finishes by giving some other characteristics of Leviathan that separate him from all other creatures, especially any of the animals living today.  He could swim so rapidly and above the surface of the water that he left a shining wake making people think that the “deep had white hair”!  In God’s words, there is nothing like him on earth and so “…he is king over all the children of pride” (verse 34):

 

Strength dwells in his neck,

And sorrow dances before him.

The folds of his flesh are joined together;

They are firm on him and cannot be moved.

His heart is as hard as stone,

Even as hard as the lower millstone.

When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid;

Because of his crashings they are beside themselves.

Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail;

Nor does spear, dart, or javelin.

He regards iron as straw,

And bronze as rotten wood.

The arrow cannot make him flee;

Slingstones become like stubble to him.

Darts are regarded as straw;

He laughs at the threat of javelins.

His undersides are like sharp potsherds;

He spreads pointed marks in the mire.

He makes the deep boil like a pot;

He makes the sea like a pot of ointment.

He leaves a shining wake behind him;

One would think the deep had white hair.

On earth there is nothing like him,

Which is made without fear.

He beholds every high thing;

He is king over all the children of pride.” (Job 41:22 – 34)

 

Impenetrable Armor

Anna Gosline, writing for the NewScientist.com news service, writes about the amazing body armor of one type of dinosaur known as Ankylosaurs, which, though it is not to be equated with Leviathan, does provide an excellent example of what these impenetrable scales may have been like – pointing to the veracity of the account in Job 41.

 

An in-depth study of dinosaur armor has revealed an unexpected new level of strength, with some plates having a weave of fibers resembling today’s bulletproof fabrics. The likely strength of such plates makes the dinosaurs studied – ankylosaurs – perhaps the best – protected creatures to have ever stalked the Earth […] Ankylosaurs were massive herbivores that grew up to 10 meters in length during the late Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The coin-sized plates sported by the ankylosaurs fully covered their back, neck, head and even protected their eyes […] They had sets of structural fibers running parallel and perpendicular to the surface, and then further sets at 45° to each of these axes, providing strength in all directions. The fibers of the bulletproof fabric Kevlar are similarly arranged. (Gosline 2004)

 

Where is the proof?

So the Bible does in fact claim that men and dinosaurs once lived together.  However, there is still so much research regarding dinosaurs and so many experts attest that they died out about 65 million years ago.  If the dinosaurs really did exist with men as the Bible claims, shouldn’t we see some proof of that other than mere oral accounts that many believe are suspect to exaggeration and mythologizing?  Wouldn’t we expect to see some hard facts substantiating men and dinosaurs living together?

Soft Tissue and Red Blood Cells

The evidence that men and dinosaurs coexisted not millions of years ago but only thousands of years ago lies right in front of

T-Rex Soft Tissue

our faces, but out of fear, most refuse to see.  The evidence of Job and the description of two dinosaurs is evidence not to be lightly brushed off; nevertheless, it remains invisible to many.  The discovery of soft tissue complete with blood vessels in dinosaur bones should be just such evidence that should make people reconsider their paradigm.  Dr. Schweitzer, who made the discovery, even suggested, “We may not really know as much about how fossils are preserved as we think” (Peake 2005).  Dr. Carl Wieland remarks regarding the discovery:

One description of a portion of the tissue was that it is “flexible and resilient and when stretched returns to its original shape”. Dr. Schweitzer…has been cited as saying that the blood vessels were flexible, and that in some instances, one could squeeze out their contents. Furthermore, she said, “The microstructures that look like cells are preserved in every way.” She also is reported as commenting that “preservation of this extent, where you still have this flexibility and transparency, has never been seen in a dinosaur before.”

 

The reason that this possibility has long been overlooked seems obvious: the overriding belief in “millions of years”. The long-age paradigm (dominant belief system) blinded researchers to the possibility, as it were. It is inconceivable that such things should be preserved for (in this case) “70 million years”.

 

Unfortunately, the long-age paradigm is so dominant that facts alone will not readily overturn it. As philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn pointed out, what generally happens when a discovery contradicts a paradigm is that the paradigm is not discarded but modified, usually by making secondary assumptions, to accommodate the new evidence.

That’s just what appears to have happened in this case. When Schweitzer first found what appeared to be blood cells in a T. Rex specimen, she said, “It was exactly like looking at a slice of modern bone. But, of course, I couldn’t believe it. I said to the lab technician: “The bones, after all, are 65 million years old. How could blood cells survive that long?’” Notice that her first reaction was to question the evidence, not the paradigm. (Wieland 2005, emphasis mine)

Dinosaur tissue is an amazing challenge to the old-earth paradigm, but it still doesn’t prove that men and dinosaurs coexisted as the Bible clearly claims.  However, evidence that men and dinosaurs lived together in the past does exist and is available for scrutiny for all who are willing to reconsider the paradigm.  Let’s now consider some archaeological evidence that men and dinosaurs lived together.



[i] A plethora of excellent research has been done in this area demonstrating conclusively that many of the supposed transitional forms were hoaxes, fanciful reconstructions based on pigs’ teeth, merely extinct apes, or just humans – none of which is the missing evolutionary link between men and the imagined ancestor.  Marvin Lubenow’s Bones of Contention is a scholarly, yet very readable, creationist assessment of human fossils.  Mr. Lubenow systematically demonstrates that the bones in question are not the transitional forms the paleontologists have been telling us for so many years.

[ii] See Jeffrey Harrison’s article Dinosaurs and the Bible (2006), for a detailed listing of over forty verses dealing either directly or indirectly with dinosaurs. www.totheends.com/dino.html

[iii]King James Concordance (electronic version: The Word Bible Software): Total KJV Total of occurrences 27 of the root תּנּים / תּנּין tannin / tannim: dragons 15: Deu 32:33, Job 30:29, Psa 44:19, Psa 74:13, Psa 148:7, Isa 13:22, Isa 34:13, Isa 35:7, Isa 43:20, Jer 9:11, Jer 10:22, Jer 14:6, Jer 49:33, Jer 51:37, Mic 1:8

dragon 6: Psa 91:13 (2), Isa 27:1, Isa 51:9, Jer 51:34, Eze 29:3

serpent 2: Exo 7:9-10; monsters 1: Lam 4:3; serpents 1: Exo 7:12; whale 1: Job 7:12; whales 1: Gen1:21

[iv] Dave Wright notes “The sea creatures, like the plesiosaur, are not actually considered dinosaurs. The term “dinosaur” is used to refer to those that live on land. Therefore, dinosaurs were land animals that were created on day six.”  (Dave Wright, Answers In Genesis staff, personal communication, June 9, 2007)

[v] Dr. Sholar notes “when He says, ‘Look now at the behemoth..’ this speaks strongly to me of coexistence.  If it was extinct, however, the ‘look now’ makes no sense for he would not have had any historical record of it.” (Sholar, personal communication September 21, 2006)

[vi] Cedars of Lebanon. Retrieved August 8, 2006, from

www.mcforest.sailorsite.net/ListTest.html

[vii]Exodus 4:4, Deuteronomy 28:13, Deuteronomy 28:44, Judges 15:4, Isa_19:14-15

[viii] KTU 1.5 I:1 27

 

Creation Days According to the Church Fathers

 We assert that Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively, i.e., that the world, with all its creatures, was created within six days, as the words read.  (Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis)

 

The Early Church Fathers

The early Church Fathers were men who believed in Jesus as their Savior and Lord and were the leaders of the church after the time of the original twelve apostles.  They defended and proclaimed the death and resurrection of Jesus and the Bible as a whole.  Their writings show us that they spent great amounts of time attempting to disprove false teachings that arose.  The issue of creation was certainly one of those.

 

The Church Fathers wrote against the Greek teaching that there was not a beginning, that the universe was infinite.  They also wrote against spontaneous generation, which taught that life merely sprang up all by itself without a creator – which has similarities to the ideas of Charles Darwin known today as abiogenesis.  We need to keep in mind, as stated earlier, that just because the Church Fathers have a particular interpretation of a passage, it does not automatically mean that we have to agree with them.  They were men who could make mistakes and their writings are not considered inspired like the Bible.  However, they are indicative of what the early church believed Scripture was teaching.  Because of the sheer number of their writings, we will only look at the most salient of writers; just the ante-Nicene Fathers (the writings of the Fathers from approximately the second until the fourth century A.D.) who wrote thousands of pages – enough to occupy a lifetime of study.

 

Twisting the Words of the Early Fathers

The Church Fathers, like the ancient Jewish writers, have been appealed to by those who believe in an old earth to establish that the Bible truly teaches that the heavens and earth are very old.  As we noted earlier, Dr. Ross has claimed that many of the Church Fathers believed in an old earth rather than in a young earth.

 

It is twisting the facts, however, to say that “many of the early Church Fathers […] interpret the creation days […] as long periods of time.” (Ross 1991: 141)  We have already demonstrated that Josephus, whom he includes in his list, thought just the opposite and dates the age of the world to about 5800 years.  In a similar fashion, the vast majority of early Church Fathers believed that Genesis 1-2 spoke of literal days, not long periods of time.

 

Ross’s poor scholarship has unfortunately led many to believe that the Church Fathers believed in day-ages when in fact they did not.  Dr. Joshua Zorn discusses how he used to believe in a young earth and was very zealous until he learned more about science and in particular, read that the ancient Jewish and Christian interpreters believed in long days of creation.

 

For me it was surprising to find out that very few of the early Jewish interpreters or Church Fathers held to the six consecutive twenty-four-hour day interpretation of Genesis 1. In Creation and Time, Ross has documented that Philo, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandra, Origin, Augustine, Basil, and others all held to other interpretations.  (Zorn 1997: 3)

 

Contrary to what Hugh Ross claims, practically none of the Church Fathers believed in long days of creation, which explains Zorn’s surprise.  Again, we note that the Church Fathers are not the standard by which we measure Scripture; they were fallible.  They do, however, provide a window into how ancient believers understood and interpreted Scripture.  If nearly every ancient interpreter understood the days of Genesis to be literal, then there exists no historical basis to believe in anything but six, literal days of creation.

 

Let’s survey what some of the Church Fathers thought about Genesis 1 and 2 and whether they indeed support the position that the universe and the earth are billions of years old.

Barnabas

The Epistle of Barnabas[i] was probably written between 70 A.D. and 135 A.D. possibly by an Alexandrian Jew, though authorship is not clear.  “The Epistle of Barnabas is, like I Clement, really anonymous…” (Lake 1912: 337-339).  While we are not so concerned with proving who indeed actually wrote it, we are interested in mining the interpretation of an ancient Christian regarding the creation.  From Chapter 15 on, covering the topic of the false and the true Sabbath, we read:

Further, also, it is written concerning the Sabbath in the Decalogue which [the Lord] spoke, face to face, to Moses on Mount Sinai, “And sanctify ye the Sabbath of the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart”… The Sabbath is mentioned at the beginning of the creation [thus]: “And God made in six days the works of His hands, and made an end on the seventh day, and rested on it, and sanctified it.” Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expression, “He finished in six days.” This implieth that the Lord will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is with Him a thousand years. (emphasis mine)

 

Contrary to believing in an old earth and universe, this author believed that the total span of earth’s history would last 7000 years and then God would “make a beginning of the eighth day, that is, a beginning of another world.”  How much more clarity in a creation time line could one ask for?  This author was by far not the only one to hold to the belief that the six, literal days of creation multiplied by 1000, was equal the total time in years which the earth would exist.  It would also be wrong to conclude that the author somehow thought that the days in Genesis were not actual days.  It is precisely because those days were real, literal days that the formula worked in his mind.  Because the days of creation were real and definite units of time, so too would be the duration of earth’s history – a grand total of 7000 years.

 

Irenaeus

Irenaeus, an early church father of the second century in the area of modern day France, in his work, Against Heresies reiterates the formula the author of the Epistle of Barnabas so plainly put forth.  Irenaeus says:

 

For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: “Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works.” (Genesis 2:2) This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; (2 Peter 3:8) and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year. (Irenaeus Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 28 emphasis mine)

 

Irenaeus is discussing the end of the age, but plainly believed the days of creation to be literal.  “For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded.”  Irenaeus believed that the world would end after six thousand years precisely because the creation was finished after six days.  If we reverse the formula where one day equals one thousand years, then there is no other conclusion that may be drawn concerning how long he believed those first days of creation to be.  If God will rest after 6000 years, and if the formula is that 1000 years equals a day, then the days of creation must be nothing other than 24-hour days.  If the number of years until the end of the world is believed to be definite and concrete by Irenaeus, then he must have believed that the days of creation were literal as well.

 

Theophilus of Antioch

 

Theophilus of Antioch, born around 115 A.D. and died about 185 A.D., was a prolific writer of the early church.  Theophilus was an apologist especially concerned with refuting the false teachers of his day.  Theophilus, writing to “Autolycus an Idolater and Scorner of Christians”, states concerning the six days of creation that,

Of this six days’ work no man can give a worthy explanation and description of all its parts…on account of the exceeding greatness and riches of the wisdom of God which there is in the six days’ work above narrated. (Theophilus: Book 1, Chapter 1)

He later says, “But the power of God is shown in this, that, first of all, He creates out of nothing, according to His will, the things that are made” (Chapter 8).  He thus establishes that, contrary to Greek thought, there was nothing before God began His work of creation.  Interestingly, in light of the evolution plus God theories, Theophilus writes concerning the creation of the luminaries and how God created them later so as to confound the vain philosophers.

On the fourth day the luminaries were made; because God, Who possesses foreknowledge, knew the follies of the vain philosophers, that they were going to say, that the things which grow on the earth are produced from the heavenly bodies, so as to exclude God. In order, therefore, that the truth might be obvious, the plants and seeds were produced prior to the heavenly bodies, for what is posterior cannot produce that which is prior.  (Book 2, Chapter 15 emphasis mine)

 

God Finished in Six Days

The current evolutionary (abiogenesis) model teaches that life spontaneously generated in the primordial soup of the earth.  A necessary condition for the generation of life was the presence of the sun to provide the light, warmth, and energy for that life to miraculously begin.  Theophilus, who obviously knew nothing of the paradigm of biological evolution, seems to have preempted the idea.  The thought of spontaneous generation did not begin with Darwin; it was a belief held by the ancient Greeks.  Theophilus was specifically attacking the belief that the sun was necessary for the generation of plant life.  It is also significant that those holding both evolutionary timescale and the Bible as being true (Progressive Creation and Theistic Evolution) have to reinterpret the text of Genesis 1 to make it fit their preconceptions.  Theophilus, however, wrote extensively to disprove such theories that contradicted the Scriptures as he understood them.  He then gives a summary statement of all that God had done, “God, having thus completed the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that are in them, on the sixth day, rested on the seventh day from all His works which He made” (Chapter XIX).  Later in chapter 23 he states again:

 

Man, therefore, God made on the sixth day, and made known this creation after the seventh day, when also He made Paradise, that he might be in a better and distinctly superior place. And that this is true, the fact itself proves. For how can one miss seeing that the pains which women suffer in childbed, and the oblivion of their labours which they afterwards enjoy, are sent in order that the word of God may be fulfilled, and that the race of men may increase and multiply? And do we not see also the judgment of the serpent, — how hatefully he crawls on his belly and eats the dust, — that we may have this, too, for a proof of the things which were said aforetime? (Book 2, Chapter 23)

 

According to his logic, the facts that we see the pains associated with childbirth and that snakes do indeed crawl on their bellies proves that God created just as Genesis declared.  Whether or not we agree with his logic is irrelevant.  What is important for our study is to see that another church father understood the events of Genesis 1 – 3 as very real and literal events.  They were historical events.  The days were literal days.  To further confirm those facts, Theophilus establishes that the fall of man and the deception of the woman were at the beginning.  This makes perfect sense if the days of creation were only six, real days, but not if creation lasted billions of years as Theistic Evolution and Progressive Creationism purport.  “This Eve, on account of her having been in the beginning deceived by the serpent […]” (Chapter 28 emphasis mine).

 

Theophilus’ Simple Arithmetic

Many old earth advocates suggest that belief in a young earth of about 6000 years is a fairly recent one.  Theophilus apparently wasn’t aware that he was supposed to believe in an old earth as we have already demonstrated.  But just to let us know what he really thought, he left us yet another clear proof that he thought that creation had taken place only several thousand years before his own time.  In book 3 chapter 23 he endeavored to demonstrate that the prophets of the Old Testament were more ancient than the Greek writers.  He states:

 

And that we may give a more accurate exhibition of eras and dates, we will, God helping us, now give an account not only of the dates after the deluge, but also of those before it, so as to reckon the whole number of all the years, as far as possible; tracing up to the very beginning of the creation of the world, which Moses the servant of God recorded through the Holy Spirit. For having first spoken of what concerned the creation and genesis of the world, and of the first man, and all that happened after in the order of events, he signified also the years that elapsed before the deluge.  (emphasis mine)

 

Theophilus immediately begins chapter 24 with a very literal totaling of the years of Adam and his descendants and arrives at a number fairly close to what young earth advocates propose:

 

Adam lived till he begat a son, 230 years. And his son Seth, 205 […] And his son Enoch, 165 […] And Lamech’s son was Noah, of whom we have spoken above, who begat Shem when 500 years old. During Noah’s life, in his 600th year, the flood came. The total number of years, therefore, till the flood, was 2242.  (emphasis mine)

 

Theophilus has done nothing extraordinary here.  He has merely added up the lifetimes from Adam until Noah and arrived at a number of years of 2242; that is Adam was created 2242 years before the flood (an event which he considered literal and real.).  He then continues:

 

And immediately after the flood, Shem, who was 100 years old, begat Arphaxad. […] And his son Eber, when 134. And from him the Hebrews name their race […] And his son Nahor, when 75. And his son Terah, when 70. And his son Abraham, our patriarch, begat Isaac when he was 100 years old. Until Abraham, therefore, there are 3278 years.  (emphasis mine)

 

Thus from the Creation (including Adam) to Abraham, according to Theophilus, there were 3278 years.  Therefore if we add up Theophilus’ calculations until the present we get: Adam to Abraham 3278 years (Abraham lived somewhere about 2000 B.C.) plus 2000 years approximately from Abraham until Christ and then another 2000 from Christ until the present to equal 7278 years from the beginning until now.  Where is the belief in long, indefinite ages in the distant past that Theophilus was supposed to believe in?  Theophilus reiterates his point (and I submit here, at the risk of being redundant, merely to stress that this writer is not being taken out of context, nor am I leaving out important elements of his treatise) because he fully desired to prove as clearly as possible that the world was only thousands of years old:

 

And from the foundation of the world the whole time is thus traced, so far as its main epochs are concerned. From the creation of the world to the deluge were 2242 years. And from the deluge to the time when Abraham our forefather begat a son, 1036 years. And from Isaac, Abraham’s son, to the time when the people dwelt with Moses in the desert, 660 years. And from the death of Moses and the rule of Joshua the son of Nun, to the death of the patriarch David, 498 years. And from the death of David and the reign of Solomon to the sojourning of the people in the land of Babylon, 518 years 6 months 10 days. And from the government of Cyrus to the death of the Emperor Aurelius Verus, 744 years. All the years from the creation of the world amount to a total of 5698 years, and the odd months and days.  (Book 3, Chapter 28, emphasis mine)

 

To Theophilus, The Earth Is Young

For fear that his reader might get lost in all of these numbers and hence forget the reason for their listing, he plainly states that he is writing to show as nonsense the positions of the writers that suggest that the world is extremely old:

 

For my purpose is not to furnish mere matter of much talk, but to throw light upon the number of years from the foundation of the world, and to condemn the empty labour and trifling of these authors, because there have neither been twenty thousand times ten thousand years [200,000,000] from the flood to the present time, as Plato said, affirming that there had been so many years; nor yet 15 times 10,375 years [155,625], as we have already mentioned Apollonius the Egyptian gave out; nor is the world uncreated, nor is there a spontaneous production of all things [abiogensis], as Pythagoras and the rest dreamed; but, being indeed created, it is also governed by the providence of God, who made all things; and the whole course of time and the years are made plain to those who wish to obey the truth. (Book 3, Chapter 26, emphasis mine)

 

For Theophilus, believing that the world is two hundred million years old is complete nonsense invented by those who are not seeking the truth.  He is humble enough to concede that his calculations might be off by a little bit.

 

For if even a chronological error has been committed by us, of, e.g., 50 or 100, or even 200 years, yet 121 not of thousands and tens of thousands, as Plato and Apollonius and other mendacious authors have hitherto written”(Chapter 29).

 

He is not dogmatic about his calculation being the only correct number.  However, he is suggesting that to speculate that the earth is over one hundred thousand years old as Plato suggests or is two hundred million years is complete nonsense.  Theophilus wrote to “condemn the empty labor and trifling of these authors.”  While his opinion doesn’t prove that Genesis teaches a young earth, it does prove that a young earth was considered orthodox and the only acceptable, Biblical perspective.  In light of all the other ancient commentators hereto examined, we are gaining a picture that to believe in an old earth of hundreds of thousands, or millions, let alone billions of years would have been considered extremely aberrant and outrageous.

 

Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria, who lived from 153 to 217 A.D., is considered one of the most influential of the early Church Fathers.  He was a prolific writer who so eloquently articulated many matters of faith in his generation.  He wrote briefly but succinctly concerning the time frame of the creation:

 

For the creation of the world was concluded in six days. For the motion of the sun from solstice to solstice is completed in six months – in the course of which, at one time the leaves fall, and at another plants bud and seeds come to maturity. And they say that the embryo is perfected exactly in the sixth month, that is, in one hundred and eighty days in addition to the two and a half, as Polybus the physician relates in his book On the Eighth Month, and Aristotle the philosopher in his book On Nature. Hence the Pythagoreans, as I think, reckon six the perfect number, from the creation of the world (The Stromata Book 6, Chapter 16)

 

We know that he believed in a literal six days by the examples that he gives (e.g. the motion of the sun, the time the leaves fall, the budding of plants, and the time of perfecting of an embryo at six months).  From the fact that his examples, which all have to do with a unit of six, are nonetheless real and finite units of time, we can conclude that his understanding of the first days of time were no different.

 

Hippolytus

Hippolytus was a bishop of Rome who lived from 170 to 236 A.D. and was a student of Irenaeus.  In his book, The Refutation of All Heresies (book 4, chapter 48), he says, “For in six days the world was made, and (the Creator) rested on the seventh.”  What does he mean by six days, though?  Could it be that he is referring to six ages – ages in which millions and billions of years might have elapsed?  How can we know precisely what he meant by six days?

 

Fortunately, Hippolytus continues in a very direct and exact manner.  He would not have his ancient audience, or us for that matter, be in the dark regarding what he firmly believed the Scriptures to be teaching:

 

But that we may not leave our subject at this point undemonstrated, we are obliged to discuss the matter of the times, of which a man should not speak hastily, because they are a light to him. For as the times are noted from the foundation of the world, and reckoned from Adam, they set clearly before us the matter with which our inquiry deals. For the first appearance of our Lord in the flesh took place in Bethlehem, under Augustus, in the year 5500; and He suffered in the thirty-third year. And 6,000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day “on which God rested from all His works.” (The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus, Part 1.3.4)

 

Here he unambiguously declares the earth to be young.  According to his calculations, Jesus came in the flesh 5500 years after the foundation of the world.  He then states that the entirety of human history would last only six thousand years, a theme that we have seen several times earlier in our study of the other ancient commentators.[ii]  There exists no doubt in the mind of Hippolytus that God created all that there is a mere 5500 years before Jesus and that the entire span of history would last no longer than six thousand years.

 

Origen and Methodius

 

At this point we need to consider Origen and Methodius, both of whom were on Hugh Ross’s list of Church Fathers who supposedly believed in non-literal days of creation and hence an old earth.  We need to consider them in tandem since they are better understood together rather than separately regarding creation.  Origen lived in Alexandria from 185 to 254 A.D.  He was a follower of Jesus Christ, who, unfortunately, began interpreting the Scriptures in a manner that was considered heretical by the Christian community of his day and for centuries after.

 

Origen’s Disturbing Doctrines

Of all the Church Fathers that we have examined so far, Origen is the only one that truly did reject the literal interpretation of the text of Genesis in favor of an allegorical approach in order to resolve some of the seeming difficulties of the text.  While Origen’s love for God is not in question, his method of interpretation is.  For in caring more about the hidden meaning of the text than the literal and plain meaning, mixed with the NeoPlatonistic thinking of Alexandria, Origen wrote some most disturbing things concerning doctrines which are essential to orthodox Christianity, and if one merely follows the plain meaning of Scripture, cannot be missed.  Though Origen was perhaps the first to systematize a doctrine of the Trinity, his conclusions are not derived from the plain reading of Scripture, but from mixing Greek philosophy, allegory and Scripture together.  Below is an excerpt from Origen on the Trinity:

 

The God and Father, who holds the universe together, is superior to every being that exists, for he imparts to each one from his own existence that which each one is; the Son, being less than the Father, is superior to rational creatures alone (for he is second to the Father); the Holy Spirit is still less, and dwells within the saints alone. So that in this way the power of the Father is greater than that of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and that of the Son is more than that of the Holy Spirit, and in turn the power of the Holy Spirit exceeds that of every other holy being. (Moore 2006)

 

Origen obviously holds to a completely unorthodox position of the relation of the three persons of the Trinity to such an extent that it sounds much like the modern day cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses who hold that Jesus is the first of all of God’s creations but is not equal to God.  Obviously someone holding to such a position is unstable in their interpretation of the Bible and should not be looked to for guidance on interpreting the creation account of Genesis.  We might be tempted to give Origen the benefit of the doubt concerning his heretical view of the Trinity.  However, it is not only this issue but many others that call into question his teachings.

 

Another example which is nowhere to be found in the pages of Scripture, but purely from his own imagination is the creation of souls.  This teaching held that not only were there many beings created prior to the act of creation which originally fell away from their creator, but that the soul of Christ was among that number.

 

Where do we see this idea even remotely intimated in Scripture?  Obviously, the answer is absolutely nowhere!  Isn’t the plain teaching of Scripture easy for all to see?  Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58) and the Jews obviously understood what He was saying since they wanted to stone Him!  In Revelation 1:17 Jesus said that He is the first and the last – a term that is used only for God and stands in direct contradiction to Origen’s teaching.

 

Methodius Opposed to Origen’s Teaching

We now turn our attention to Methodius who was born shortly after Origen and became bishop over Olympus and Patara in Lycia and then later died as a martyr around 312  A.D. in Greece.  He was chiefly known as an ardent opponent of the teachings of Origen and devoted numerous pages to refuting his heretical teachings.  In a fragment of his writings[iii], he says concerning Origen, whom he then quotes:

 

Origen, after having fabled many things concerning the eternity of the universe, adds this also:

 

Nor yet from Adam, as some say, did man, previously not existing, first take his existence and come into the world. Nor again did the world begin to be made six days before the creation of Adam. But if any one should prefer to differ in these points, let him first say, whether a period of time be not easily reckoned from the creation of the world, according to the Book of Moses, to those who so receive it, the voice of prophecy here proclaiming: “Thou art God from everlasting, and world without end […] For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday: seeing that is past as a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:2, Psalm 90:4) For when a thousand years are reckoned as one day in the sight of God, and from the creation of the world to His rest is six days, so also to our time, six days are defined, as those say who are clever arithmeticians. Therefore, they say that an age of six thousand years extends from Adam to our time. For they say that the judgment will come on the seventh day, that is in the seventh thousand years. Therefore, all the days from our time to that which was in the beginning, in which God created the heaven and the earth, are computed to be thirteen days; before which God, because he had as yet created nothing according to their folly, is stripped of His name of Father and Almighty. But if there are thirteen days in the sight of God from the creation of the world, how can Wisdom say, in the Book of the Son of Sirach: “Who can number the sand of the sea, and the drops of rain, and the days of eternity?” (Ecclus. 1:2)

 

This is what Origen says seriously, and mark how he trifles.  (Methodius Extracts from the Work on Things Created, emphasis mine)

 

The last line of the above quote contains the final remarks of Methodius.  Notice that where Origen denied the literal creation in six days, Methodius just dismisses his words as “trifles”.  Thus, we can truly admit that there was at least one who thought that the creation of the heavens and earth exceeded six literal days.  However, the idea is considered to be foolish and is rejected out of hand and Origen is the only known exception to the rule.  It must also be kept in mind that Origen’s denial of such teachings of the creation was a result of his allegorical and NeoPlatonistic method of interpreting the Scriptures – the same method that led him to teach that the Holy Spirit is inferior in essence to the Son and the Son is inferior in essence to the Father.  He thought, in fact, both the Son and the Holy Spirit were created beings.  This same method also led him to teach the preexistence of souls and the soul of Christ – a doctrine that resounds with the teachings of the Mormon cult started by Joseph Smith.

 

Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries

In 312 A.D. Constantine the Great conquered the city of Rome, the center of the oppressive government which for nearly three centuries had afflicted Christians with all manners of torture and martyrdom.

 

A vision had assured him that he should conquer in the sign of the Christ, and his warriors carried Christ’s monogram on their shields, though the majority of them were pagans… Of his gratitude to the God of the Christians the victor immediately gave convincing proof; the Christian worship was henceforth tolerated throughout the empire (Edict of Milan, early in 313). (Catholic Encyclopedia 2006 emphasis mine)

 

Constantine’s victory marked the beginning of a new age for the church where almost overnight the belief in Jesus as Lord went from being threatened with a miserable death to being accepted as the official state religion.

 

Victorinus

Victorinus, a church father who flourished around 270 A.D. and was martyred around 303 A.D., wrote many works, most having been lost, unfortunately.  Nevertheless, one that was preserved titled “On The Creation Of The World” contains some candid reflections upon what he understood those six days to mean.

To me, as I meditate and consider in my mind concerning the creation of this world in which we are kept enclosed, even such is the rapidity of that creation; as is contained in the book of Moses, which he wrote about its creation, and which is called Genesis. God produced that entire mass for the adornment of His majesty in six days; on the seventh to which He consecrated it […] In the beginning God made the light, and divided it in the exact measure of twelve hours by day and by night, for this reason […] (Victorinus, emphasis mine)

Note that Victorinus specifically states that God created in a matter of six days and rested on the seventh.  He then further defines for us what he means by a day by saying that God divided the day and the night into twelve-hour segments and hence a twenty-four hour day.  Could we ask for a more specific explanation from an ancient source as to what they understood a day to be?

 

Basil the Great

Victorinus is hardly alone in his understanding of the creation days consisting of 24 hours.  Basil “The Great” (ca. 330 to 379 A.D.) corroborates Victorinus’ teaching one hundred years later with his statement:

 

’And there was evening and morning, one day.’ Why did he say ‘one’ and not ‘first’?  He said ‘one’ because he was defining

the measure of day and night […] since twenty-four hours fill up the interval of one day (The Six Days Work 1:1-2, emphasis mine)

 

Lactantius

Lactantius (260 to 330 AD), who suffered under the last of the persecutions of Rome, in his latter years had the unique fortune of being the tutor of Constantine’s son Crispus.  Working in such close proximity to the emperor, he was given the opportunity to become “the instrument of Providence in bearing the testimony of Jesus, ‘even before kings.’” (Fathers Volume 7 Introduction Lactantius) Lactantius thus becomes an important voice concerning our question of how the Church Fathers interpreted Genesis.  His perspective is especially noteworthy since he had tasted the bitterness of suffering for Christ and then later witnessed introduction of Christianity as the official state religion, which ultimately led to his working in the home of the emperor himself.  We can surmise, therefore, that he would have desired to be bold in his declaration of Christ and to teach the Scriptures as faithfully as possible.

 

In his work The Divine Institutes, which he entitled, “Of the First and Last Times of the World,” he states that God made the heavens and earth in six days.  He also straightforwardly states:

 

Plato and many others of the philosophers, since they were ignorant of the origin of all things, and of that primal period at which the world was made, said that many thousands of ages had passed since this beautiful arrangement of the world was completed; foolishly saythat they possess comprised in their memorials four hundred and seventy thousand years; in which matter […] they believed that they were at liberty to speak falsely. But we, whom the Holy Scriptures instruct to the knowledge of the truth, know the beginning and the end of the world […] Therefore let the philosophers, who enumerate thousands of ages from the beginning of the world, know that the six thousandth year is not yet completed, and that when this number is completed the consummation must take place, and the condition of human affairs be remodeled for the better, the proof of which must first be related, that the matter itself may be plain. God completed the world and this admirable work of nature in the space of six days, as is contained in the secrets of Holy Scripture, and consecrated the seventh day, on which He had rested from His works.  (The Divine Institutes, Chapter 16, emphasis mine)

 

Lactantius states this as clearly and plainly as one could possibly expect.  He unambiguously declares that it is the philosophers who are both ignorant and foolish in declaring that the origin of all things took place over hundreds of thousands of years earlier.  Lactantius even denounces an exact amount of 475,000 years and if it was considered foolish to think that the world was so old in his day, why should we be persuaded that the earth is 4.56 billion years old and the universe is about 14 billion years old?  We have seen again and again that the ancient interpreters believed that Scripture taught a young earth.

 

Augustine

Augustine

Of all the Church Fathers (besides Origen), the person we would expect to hold to a view of an old earth and a creation week that took place over vast ages, would be Augustine.  He lived from 354 to 430 A.D. and was the bishop of Hippo in North Africa.  He is considered to be the foremost theologian of the Catholic Church and is also held in high esteem by many Protestants.  A typical method of interpretation for him was allegorical and typological.  He often sought a deeper and spiritual truth underlying a given text.  Thus, to discover that he did not believe that the creation week happened over long periods of time, as Dr. Ross has stated, is surprising.  Ironically, Augustine held to a view that God created everything in an instant rather than in six literal days.  However, as to when this occurred, he, like so many Church Fathers before him, believed the creation to have occurred less than six thousand years before his own time.

 

Creation Was Less than Six Thousand Years Ago

In his monumental work, City of God book 12, chapter 10, Augustine lucidly comments on certain people that just don’t have their facts straight concerning the age of the earth:

 

They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed. (City of God book 12, chapter 10 emphasis mine)

 

He then reiterates this in chapter 12.

 

As to those who are always asking why man was not created during these countless ages of the infinitely extended past, and came into being so lately that, according to Scripture, less than 6000 years have elapsed since He began to be, I would reply to them regarding the creation of man, just as I replied regarding the origin of the world to those who will not believe that it is not eternal, but had a beginning, which even Plato himself most plainly declares […] If it offends them that the time that has elapsed since the creation of man is so short, and his years so few according to our authorities […] (City of God book 12, chapter 12 emphasis mine)

 

Even Augustine, the one person in addition to Origen that we might have expected to see an earth of billions of years or hundreds of thousands at the very least, held to a young earth.  One, therefore, cannot argue that he was advocating any type of day-age theory.  Nor did he envision any gap between the verses 1, 2 or 3.  However, we may not conclude that he believed in a literal six-day creation either.

 

Augustine’s “Literal” Interpretation

Augustine’s denial of six actual days is trumpeted by Davis Young, of the geology department of Calvin College Grand Rapids, MI, who notes that Augustine’s “literal” interpretation of Genesis does not resemble the modern literal six days creation week or young earth positions.

He [Augustine] later came to reject that [allegorical] method and in this more mature work, written in his late fifties just before The City of God, he is concerned ‘to discuss Sacred Scriptures according to the plain meaning of the historical facts, not according to future events which they foreshadow’. Given his strong commitment to literal interpretation, it is fascinating to recognize that the outcome bears absolutely no resemblance to modern literal interpretations. For example, he concludes that in Genesis I the terms “light,” “day,” and “morning” bear a spiritual, rather than physical, meaning. Yet for Augustine, spiritual light is just as literal as physical light, and the creation of spiritual light is just as much a historical event or fact as the creation of physical light. What is literal for one person may not be literal for others. (Young 1988 emphasis mine)

According to Young, Augustine stresses that his new work is literal and not metaphorical or allegorical.  He then goes on to state that since Augustine was such a great theologian we ought to listen to his testimony.  Young writes,

From his general approach to this text, it would appear that Augustine, the great theologian, a man saturated in Holy Scripture, actually encourages the church not to cling dogmatically to specific renderings of the text but to rethink its interpretations in the light of genuine extra-biblical knowledge. Perhaps we should pay him serious attention. Augustine is obviously interested in the science of his own day and interacts with it. He takes extra-biblical knowledge seriously. (Young 1988 emphasis mine)

Notice that Young urges us to follow Augustine’s example to shift our interpretation of Genesis “in the light of genuine extra-biblical knowledge.”  It would seem that Young is suggesting that we are to allow modern humanistic thought to act as a standard by which we interpret Scripture.  Consider that he says, “Augustine shows respect for scientific activity, and does not want to put Scripture in a situation of conflict with it”  (Young 1988).  Certainly Young is correct that none of us ought to disregard scientific activity nor pit the Bible against science.  However, when the scientific activity of which he speaks, contradicts the historical-grammatical reading of the Bible, then there will be conflict.

 

Spontaneous Generation a Fact for Augustine

It would seem that Young is so eager to demonstrate that we should emulate Augustine by not holding to the belief that God created the heavens and earth in six (real, literal) days that he advocates believing man’s shifting thoughts over the Bible.  Consider how his next statement and following example encourage believing in (faulty and secular) science rather than merely trusting the Bible, even when it disagrees with man’s findings.

 

For example, it is clear that he [Augustine] accepts spontaneous generation of organisms and the four elements of Greek thought. He expends considerable effort in relating Genesis I to the four elements and to the Greek theory of natural places: “One must surely not think that in this passage of Holy Scripture there has been an omission of any one of the four elements that are generally supposed to make up the world just because there seems to be no mention of air in the account of sky, water, and earth.”  (Young 1988)

 

Are we therefore to allow mainstream thought about the origins of the universe, which, as we have seen, is built on a paradigm that all matter and all life arose by chance, merely because Augustine held a belief that was sympathetic to the science of his day?  Exactly what point Young wished to make regarding Augustine’s belief in spontaneous generation is unclear.  There exist two possibilities as I see it: either Young believes that that confirms the teaching of evolution and its teaching of abiogenesis or that just as Augustine permitted current thought to influence his interpretation of Scripture, so too should we.  In either case, our response is a resounding “no” since neither could be further from what our response should be.

 

If Young meant to demonstrate that Augustine was in fact, rather progressive for his day to believe in spontaneous generation, then it only serves to prove why Scripture alone should be our standard.  Wikipedia.com rightly describes the history of Spontaneous Generation:

Classical notions of abiogenesis, now more precisely known as spontaneous generation, held that complex, living organisms are generated by decaying organic substances, e.g. that mice spontaneously appear in stored grain or maggots spontaneously appear in meat.

Yet it was not until 1862 that Louis Pasteur performed a series of careful experiments which conclusively proved that a truly sterile medium would remain sterile.

Three years earlier, Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (published in 1859), had presented an argument that modern organisms had evolved, over immense periods of time, from simpler ancestral forms, that species changed over time. Darwin himself declined to speculate on some implications of his theory – that at some point there may have existed an un-organism with no prior ancestor and that such an organism may have come into existence, formed from non-living molecules.

Pasteur had demonstrated that Spontaneous Generation was wrong, and he also seemed to have demonstrated that any concept involving the generation of living matter from non-living matter was also wrong.  (Wikipedia.com: Abiogenesis emphasis mine)

Spontaneous generation is a theory that has been scientifically proven to be false and worthless.  Thus to assert that it was in any way good that Augustine paid heed to the scientific activity of his day rather than merely believe the, albeit unpopular, teaching of the Bible, is not only fallacious but inexcusable.  It is unfortunate that Augustine held to such a position that has now without a doubt been proven bogus and incorrect.  Augustine’s endorsement of “the four elements” does not need to even be mentioned.

 

I would argue that rather than trying to absorb Augustine’s views, we hold fast to the easy teaching of Scripture and where Augustine or anyone for that matter agrees with it, then we embrace their views and when they differ we part ways.  Augustine was wrong about interpreting Scripture in light of what Young described as “genuine extra-biblical knowledge”.  Spontaneous generation and only four elements were the prevailing thought back then.  Using them to interpret the Bible led to false conclusions in his day and interpreting the Bible through the lens of evolutionary thought today will lead to faulty conclusions about God and the world in our day.

 

Augustine certainly made important contributions to the Church and those should not be discounted.  However, the real and lasting contributions were those that were firmly based on Scripture and not on the changing science of men.  Thus, we ought to learn from Augustine as Young suggested; we should learn from his mistake of trying to appeal to current scientific thought where it disagrees with the Bible.  Sooner or later man’s science will change but the Bible remains.

 

The Fathers Believed in a Young Earth

Having looked at the classic ancient interpreters of the Bible, both Jewish and Christian, we can now ask ourselves what the ancient perspective was.  Did they actually believe in an old earth as some purport or did they hold to a literal point of view?  As we have seen, in every instance (except for Origen and partly Augustine), both Jewish and Christian perspectives held that the heavens and the earth were created in six, literal days and many of the commentators defined what a day is by stating that it meant 24 hours.  Not one of them (except Origen) even remotely intimated that those six days of creation should be understood as long ages or that day meant anything other than a period of 24 hours.  Time and again, they believed that God made all that is in a span of six, 24-hour days and they all thought that it occurred less than 6000 years before their own lives.  Even Augustine wrote that the creation had occurred less than 6000 years before his own day.  The real exception to the overwhelming and prevailing belief that God created in a span of six days less than 6000 years earlier was Origen and as we saw, so many of his teachings were considered heretical that his opinion on the creation of the world bears little weight.  This view of a literal, six-day creation would remain as the only acceptable belief until the enlightenment and the advent of the geology of Charles Lyell and Darwin’s  evolutionary hypothesis.

Thomas Aquinas of the 13th century, considered to be one of the foremost theologians of the Catholic Church, stated: “’God called the light day’ (since the word ‘day’ is also used to denote a space of twenty-four hours). Other instances of a similar use occur, as pointed out by Rabbi Moses.”  (Thomas  Aquinas, The Summa Theologica)

Martin Luther, the great protestant reformer of the 16th century, believed in a young earth as well.

We know from Moses that the world was not in existence before 6,000 years ago […] He [Moses] calls ‘a spade a spade,’

Luther

_i.e., he employs the terms ‘day’ and ‘evening’ without allegory, just as we customarily do […] we assert that Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively, i.e., that the world, with all its creatures, was created within six days, as the words read. If we do not comprehend the reason for this, let us remain pupils and leave the job of teacher to the Holy Spirit.  (Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis)

This view is shared by John Calvin, who also lived in the 16th century, that the earth is less than 6000 years old, which implies that the days of creation were literal six days of 24-hours.  In speaking of those that reject some of his teachings, he strongly declares:

A rebellious spirit will display itself no less insolently when it hears that there are three persons in the divine essence, than when it hears that God when he created man foresaw every thing that was to happen to him. Nor will they abstain from their jeers when told that little more than five thousand years have elapsed since the creation of the world. (John Calvin)

Thus what shall we conclude?  Is it safe to venture that the early church believed that God created the universe in six, literal days roughly six thousand years prior to their time?  There exists no historical reason to believe in any other conclusion.  We have also seen that there exists no philological, semantic or syntactical reason in the Bible.  The Bible never suggests that the Genesis days should be considered longer.  The only reason that exists to believe that those days were long periods of time is because one has accepted as established fact and truth the evolutionary model, and hence, feels the need to fit those billions of years into the Bible.  The amazing irony, however, is that evolution was devised to try to explain how we got here without the aid of a creator.

 


[i] All of the early Church Fathers are cited from The Early Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volumes 1 – 9 (1867), Edinburgh, using the electronic version of The Word Bible Software unless otherwise stated.

[ii] The belief of the ancient commentators that the entirety of human history would last 6000 years is not specifically stated in the Bible.  Nevertheless, the belief clearly shows that they believed the earth to be young and not millions or billions of years old.

 [iii] This was actually recorded by another ancient writer, Photius.

 

The First Six Days

The First Six Days Banner

The goal of this book is to show that biblically and historically creation took place in six, literal days. I do not attempt to argue the finer points of creation science because I am not a specialist in those areas. However, there are many who are specialists in their respective fields who have spent many years developing plausible answers to the questions surrounding creation. I have listed the resources below that I believe will be of particular interest as you desire to dig deeper and discover that the science of creationists is just as good, and many times better, than that of the evolutionists.”

– Douglas Hamp

If God really created via evolution then why does God say that He created everything in only six days? Are those days literal days or are they really indefinite periods of time as Progressive Creationism claims? We know dinosaurs were real; when did God create them if He created in six, literal days only thousands of years ago. The answers to these questions are plainly laid out in Scripture. Ancient commentators, both Jewish and Christian, all agreed that the Bible taught a literal, six day creation only thousands of years ago.


Douglas Hamp’s work The First Six Days is a much needed contribution to settle the question of days or ages. As a Hebrew language specialist trained at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he demonstrates convincingly from the pages of Scripture that the days of the Genesis creation account are literal days. He also carefully clarifies some misrepresentations of what day means in Hebrew. This is followed up by a stimulating review of the literal, six-day position held by ancient Jewish and Christian interpreters as well as archaeological corroboration of the biblical record.”

– Dr. John Morris, President Institute for Creation Research

It’s wonderful to have an easy-to-read yet well-researched book that demonstrates that a sound reading of Genesis chapter 1 demands a literal, six-day creation week. If you’ve ever asked yourself whether the first six creation days were real days, or whether it even matters, this book by pastor and educator Douglas Hamp is for you.”

– Ken Ham, Founder and President, Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum

A powerful examination of the biblical, linguistic, historical and archaeological evidence affirming that the creation days of Genesis were nothing but real and literal days. If you think that God worked through evolution, read this book and be challenged. If you believe that God created in a literal six days, read this book and be strengthened.”

– Joseph Farah, Chief Executive Officer WorldNetDaily.com Inc.

For me, this book was a faith-strengthener in the power of God as creator.”

Carl Westerlund Th.M, Director Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa School of Ministry and Graduate School

 

An easy to read yet meticulously researched book demonstrating that the only sound reading of Genesis 1 is a literal, six-day creation week.  This is a must read for everyone asking the question of how long were the first six days!

Pastor Chuck Smith, Senior Pastor Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, CA

 

– Pastor Chuck Smith, Senior Pastor Calvary ChapelCosta Mesa, CA

 

And others…

Mr. Hamp,
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the study that you have put into proving the literal interpretation of Genesis and helping to help others that have been deceived by the deceptive philosophical truth claims that have permeated our society. You are a true blessing and I’m praying for you and your family. When I have the money I will support your ministry and of course by your book “The First Six Days”. Blessing to you and your family.


Table of Contents

Introduction

    • Questions of Origins
    • How Long Were Those Six Days?

1 – The Importance of Genesis

    • God’s Word is Above His Name
    • Genesis is Foundational
    • The Origin of Sin and Death
    • Genesis Contains the Promise of the Redeemer

2 – Evolution Plus God

    • What is Evolution?
    • The Changes in Language and Culture
    • From Micro to Macro to Abiogenesis
    • According to Its Kind
    • Dogs Are Still Dogs
    • Views of Biblical Creation
    • Theistic Evolution
    • The Gap Theory
    • Progressive Creationism
    • How Much Time Does God Need?

3 – The Fact of Evolution

    • What is Science?
    • Evolution Sunday
    • The Clergy Letter Project
    • What Kind of Truths Are the Biblical Promises?
    • Darwin Didn’t Want God’s Help

4 – Interpreting Genesis

    • The Method of Interpreting the Bible
    • Scripture Interprets Scripture
    • Hermeneutics
    • What Do We Mean By Literal?
    • What is Allegory?
    • Striking the Rock
    • Daniel
    • Jeremiah’s 70 Years
    • Daniel’s Understanding of the 70 Years
    • The Chronicler Agreed
    • Interpreting Literary Genre
    • What is Meant By Literary Genre?
    • Scholars Believe in Literal Days of Genesis
    • Final Thoughts Concerning Biblical Interpretation

5 – The Question of Days

    • Meanings of Day in the Old Testament
    • 24-Hour Days
    • Days With a Cardinal Number
    • Days with Ordinal Numbers
    • Days in Hosea 6:2
    • The First Day
    • Bara and Asa
    • The Heavens and Earth
    • Tohu Vavohu
    • Tehom, The Deep
    • Merachefet, God’s Energizing of His Creation
    • God Speaks
    • The Days in Genesis 1
    • God Defines the Days for Us
    • The Days in Genesis 2
    • Genesis 2:4
    • Genesis 2:5 – 2:7
    • Genesis 2:19
    • A Final Objection
    • With The Lord
    • A Little Word with Big Meaning
    • Psalm 90:4
    • Summary of the Days in Genesis 1 and 2

6 – Days According to Ancient Jewish Commentators

  • The Use of Ancient Interpreters
  • Targumim
  • Targum Onkelos
  • Targumim Jonathan
  • Josephus
  • From The Creation
  • In Just Six Days
  • Rabbinic interpretation
  • The Talmud Comments on the Mishna
  • Rashi
  • Other Rabbis
  • Philo
  • Philo’s Paraphrase
  • Philo’s Allegorical Treatise
  • Philo and the Number Six
  • 7 – Days According to the Church Fathers

  • The Early Church Fathers
  • Twisting the Words of the Early Fathers
  • Barnabas
  • Irenaeus
  • Theophilus of Antioch
  • God Finished in Six Days
  • Theophilus’ Simple Arithmetic
  • To Theophilus, The Earth Is Young
  • Clement of Alexandria
  • Hippolytus
  • Origen and Methodius
  • Origen’s Disturbing Doctrines
  • Methodius Opposed to Origen’s Teaching
  • Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries
  • Victorinus
  • Lactantius
  • Augustine
  • Creation Was Less than Six Thousand Years Ago
  • Augustine’s “Literal” Interpretation
  • Spontaneous Generation a Fact For Augustine
  • The Fathers Believed in a Young Earth
  • 8 – What Did Adam Know On His First Day?

  • Naming the Animals
  • Parallelisms
  • Etymologies
  • Replenish the Earth and the Gap Theory
  • Replenish/Malu
  • 9 – The Day God Created Dinosaurs

  • Dinosaurs Were Real
  • Where Are the Dinosaurs in the Bible?
  • Tanninim
  • The Origin of the Word
  • Three Root Letters
  • Dragons in the Septuagint
  • Behemoth
  • God’s Description of Behemoth
  • Elephant or Hippo?
  • It’s a Tail and Nothing Else
  • The Bones
  • Leviathan
  • A Dragon/Snake-Like Creature
  • God’s Description of Leviathan
  • Not An Ordinary Creature!
  • Invincible
  • Fire Breathing
  • A Shining Wake
  • Impenetrable Armour
  • Where is the proof?
  • Soft Tissue and Red Blood Cells
  • 10 – The Day Men Saw Dinosaurs

  • Challenging the Paradigm
  • Needed Skepticism
  • Nazca Graves
  • Sophisticated Drawings
  • Possible Hoaxes?
  • Expert Analysis
  • The Rocks in the Laboratory
  • The Ica Stones Are Not Unique
  • Three Possible Answers
  • 11 – Are Six Days Enough?

  • Starlight and Time
  • The Rocks Speak
  • Polonium Radiohalos
  • Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth
  • The Grand Canyon and Mount St Helens: Keys to Geology
  • Cataclysmic Change
  • The Canyon Formed Quickly
  • Footprints in the Ash
  • The Testimony of the Fossil Record
  • Six Days Are Enough

12 – In Six Days

Epilogue (Knowing the Creator)

Appendix 1: The Last Years of Time

Appendix 2: Resources

Notes

Bibliography